A woman from Kaunas sent photos of animal tracks recorded in the yard of the house to the news portal tv3.lt. The seen footprints raised the question – what kind of animal came to visit?
An unexpected guest visited
The photos show that footprints about 10 centimeters long are imprinted in the snow. The people of Kaunas wondered if the spring prophet, the badger, had visited the yard, but after asking the naturalist Andrejaus Gaidamavičius, better known as the “Wolf of Labanor”, whose tracks they were, it turned out that the people of Kaunas had been visited by an otter.
The naturalist joked that the footprints were only 10 centimeters long, so it wasn’t really a bear that visited the yard, but the guest was an animal protected in Lithuania.
“We think it’s an otter because it rests on its whole heel with its hind legs. There should still be a tail mark. A protected animal,” commented the Labanor Wolf, adding that otters feed on fish and crayfish.
Otter (lat. Lutra lutra) is a predatory mammal of the swallow family, this species was included in the Lithuanian Red Book from 1989 to 2019.
The website of the Lithuanian Red Book states that otters are animals with a long, sleek, very flexible body that live near water and do not stray far from it. They are more active in the dark, they swim and dive well – under water, without breathing, otters can swim 400 meters and can reach speeds of up to 11-14 km/h. speed.
What is useful to know about otters?
These animals are usually distributed near water bodies, especially in forested areas, they can also be seen in low-nutrient marshy areas, less signs of activity are found near rivers that wash the concrete or trampled coasts of big cities.
Because otters are predatory mammals, they need hunting grounds, so the population is not very abundant. It is believed that about three thousand otters live in Lithuania.
Otters mainly feed on slow-moving fish, they also eat amphibians, some birds, and crayfish. These animals hide in caves, beaver huts, coastal reeds, have a permanent cave and several temporary hiding places in their living area.
The otter is reported to be at the top of the freshwater ecosystem, so its abundance depends on the state of its food chains. A potential threat is re-regulation of semi-aquatic mammal populations, which could severely reduce the slowly recovering otter population.